Friday, December 2, 2011

Christmas B.C - The Bible's first hint of Christmas

Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel."

From Eternity to History
Having established that God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit had planned together as One Eternal God the plan of redemption, we now enter into the arena we call history.  Genesis 1-2 is themed around "creation".  It is in creation where God declares seven times that all he made was "good".  In Genesis 1:26-28 and Genesis 2 we see God making man and woman in His "image and likeness", meaning that they alone were made with the capacity to know and relate to God.

History's first Catastrophe
In Genesis 2 God makes a covenant with the man and woman that is based upon their willingness to obey the simple commands he gives them.  This covenant, called "The Covenant of works", was issued by God to the man and woman, with the idea that once they fulfilled its requirements, they would attain eternal fellowship with Him.  As we come to Genesis 3, the serpent, Satan, enters the scene and tempts Eve and ultimately Adam.  The couple together complies and willingly breaks the Covenant of works.  With the covenant broken, the question would be: What would God do about it?

The first mention of the need for Christmas
In Genesis 3:15 we find God issuing forth the first mention of the gospel - whereby He promises the woman that through her offsrping (her "seed") that victory would over come the serpent and "his seed".  When the text talks about the serpent's seed, its referring to all human beings who died in Adam, inheriting his sin nature, and who are under the power and dominion of the Evil One. (please note John 8:44; Ephesians 2:1-2).  In contrast to the serpent's seed, we see reference to "The Seed" coming forth from Eve.  That "seed", that "descendant" would be none other than the babe born in Bethelehem's cradle. 

Christmas points us to the grace of God
As time would march forward, God would clarify and specify what He would mean in those first words spoken to our parents.  In Genesis 3:20-21 Adam's "confession of faith" was in the naming of his wife "Eve", the mother of all living.  He, along with her, by grace embraced the promise of a descendant spoken by God to them.  God had ordained that He would offer to them a second covenant, a covenant not based on Adam and Eve's work, but His own - a covenant of Grace. 

Christmas would be fulfilled through a specific birth, and a specific death
This covenant of grace involved God clothing Adam and Eve in coats of animal skin - meaning that as a result of the death of innocents, the guilty - Adam and Eve - could be saved from deserved eternal punishment.  In Matthew 1:21 we read these words concerning the birth of the Savior - “She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” 

Just like those two animals slain in the place of Adam and Eve, God would send forth His Son, termed the "Lamb of God", an innocent, to die in the place of the ungodly. (Romans 5:6-8)  As we look forward to Christmas, let us not forget the reason for the season.  The reason for Christmas in history originated in a garden, was brought to bear in a manger in Bethlehem, was accomplished on the cross at Golgotha and was complete in the empty garden tomb.